Hastings retires from Village of Johnson positions, but he’ll be back

Editor’s note: Article used with permission from News & Citizen.

Duncan Hastings has been a mainstay in the Johnson Municipal Building for 14 years, as the municipal manager, road commissioner, deputy health officer and manager of the village water and light department. At the end of October, Hastings will be removing some of those hats, and retiring from the village.

After a mandatory 30-day break from employment for retirement purposes, Hastings will return to the municipal building as the town manager, rather than town and village, and will continue his employment as road commissioner and deputy health officer. Hastings has committed to at least a year on the job.

“I am fully retiring for the position of municipal manager, as it is currently defined,” said Hastings, “which is working for both the town and the village… Then the town asked me if I would consider coming back to be just the town administrator for 30 hours a week.”

Once Hastings announced his retirement, the town and village comprised a search committee of two members from each board plus Rosemary Audibert, the clerk and treasurer for the town and village. The committee evaluated various positions that had become or are soon to become vacant including Steve Towns’ position of public works superintendent and Steve Smith’s road foreman position, as Towns retired in December, and Smith will retire at the end of July. What they decided was to split the municipal manager position into two, town manager and village manager.

According to Hastings, he does not believe the village is going to fill Towns’ position as public works superintendent, but the village manager will take on some of those responsibilities. The road foreman title will also be expanded to “highway public works foreman,” and the town has already hired a replacement for that position.

“The reality is, that between the town and the village, the workload was kind of too much for one person,” said Hastings. “I’ve been here for 14 years, and it doesn’t seem possible.”

Hastings fully expects that it will be a smooth transition from one position to the next, and says he will definitely be available to work with the new village manager as needed. While wearing both the town manager and village manager hats, Hastings says he was able to act as an intermediary between the town and village boards, but with the municipal manager position disappearing, he hopes that the coordination and cooperation between the two will continue. He sees no reason why it shouldn’t, and there has already been talk about having more joint board meetings to keep the cooperation in tact.

“The town and village boards, during the time that I have been here,” says Hastings, “have been very cooperative with each other, and have had the best interests of the community at heart. We have done a lot of things to sort of, functionally merge, the tasks and duties of the town and village. We share this office building and the office staff. We share the software, and I see no reason why that shouldn’t continue.”

Minor renovations will be done within the Johnson municipal building to create a new office, which will accommodate the new village manager.